Suspect in Monterey Park massacre may have had illegal semi-automatic handgun

The weapon wrestled away from a 72-year-old gunman who committed a mass shooting at a Monterey Park dance hall was an assault pistol that may be illegal in California, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said Sunday, Jan. 22.

Huu Can Tran, who died Sunday from an apparent self-inflicted inflicted wound from a separate handgun as law enforcement closed in on his white box truck following a traffic stop in Torrance, is believed to have fatally shot 10 people and wounded 10 others enjoying a Lunar New Year celebration at the Star Dance Studio in Monterey Park.

About 20 minutes later, he went to the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in Alhambra, where he also attempted to shoot patrons but was disarmed by two people who recovered the semi-automatic assault pistol with a large capacity magazine, Luna said during a somber press conference.

“He was disarmed by two community members, whom I consider heroes,” Luna said. “It could have been much worse.”

High-capacity magazines are ammunition-feeding devices capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, enabling a shooter to fire many bullets without pausing to reload. CNN, quoting an unnamed law enforcement official, said the gun was a Cobray M11 9mm semi-automatic weapon, which is designed to take 30-round magazines.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will work with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to determine the gun’s legality, the sheriff said.

Little information about Tran, beyond his name and age, was released during the news conference. Luna declined to reveal where Tran lived, and whether he knew the victims. No motive for the shootings has been established. It also was not explained how law enforcement tracked Tran’s truck to Torrance.

Investigators are probing Tran’s criminal and mental health history.

Luna said there are no outstanding suspects in connection with the massacre. “The suspect responsible for this tragedy is no longer with us,” he said.

The names of those killed and wounded in the massacre were not released as of Sunday evening.

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